How To Remain Professional at Your Holiday Work Party


Holly-Noelle Haworth

Feature Image: @fashioncanadians

The holidays are here, which means you’ve probably already been invited to a holiday company party. And while holiday work parties provide an opportunity to get festive with your co-workers or colleagues, it’s important to remain professional at all times. Yes, it’s OK to let your hair down, metaphorically and literally. You’re allowed to have fun and celebrate your hard work over the past year — just in moderation, of course. Here are some things to keep in mind before you head out to celebrate the holidays.

Watch the time

You should be mindful of the time in more ways than one. First of all, show up as close to on time as you can, as it would not look good if you waltz into the party an hour and a half late. Similarly, don’t sneak off to talk to a co-worker for an hour — you probably won’t get away with it, meaning people will definitely notice and start to ask questions. And lastly, I wouldn’t recommend coming to the holiday party if you’re just going to leave 20 minutes in. Come to the party and expect to stay for a reasonable amount of time.

Mind your talking points

Parties may seem like a good opportunity to get to know your co-workers and colleagues, as well as a good opportunity to show them a little more about who you are. However, as much as you want to let loose and talk about whatever feels natural, try to be mindful of your conversation topics. Instead of talking about politics, race, or sex, ask people about their holiday plans or New Years resolutions. Trust me, you don’t want anyone to be offended by or become uncomfortable over something you said.

Source:  Alasdair Elmes

Careful what you post

Social media is a fun way to show others what you’re up to on a day-to-day basis. And since your work party is a social activity, you might be tempted to post all about it and brag about what a great company you work for. Posting a festive photo of you and your department buddies is probably acceptable, and totally innocent, for Instagram, but make sure that everyone in the photo is okay with you posting it first. Along with making sure the photo itself is appropriate, pay attention to the captions. Badmouthing the company or people from a different department is probably not a good idea — and yes, the same thing goes for Twitter.

Dress professionally

Depending on your company culture, it’s totally acceptable to come dressed in something you wouldn’t normally wear throughout the work week. Be festive, but not too flashy. Show your style, but make sure you’re dressed appropriately. This means that you should not wear anything see-through, too low-cut, or a dress or skirt that barely covers your behind. Makes sense, right?

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Avoid the mistletoe

Kissing under a mistletoe is a holiday tradition, though one that should definitely be avoided at all holiday work parties. It may seem obvious that kissing your colleagues is a no-no, but, for some, this is extremely hard not to do — especially once you’ve had a glass of wine or two and have always thought one of your colleagues was super cute. But, it’s important that you remain professional, even if you’re just trying to take advantage of all the holiday traditions. In this day and age, you reeeally don’t want any claims of sexual harassment brought up against you. My best advice is to save your mistletoe kisses for when you’re at home.

Limit your drinks

Speaking of having a glass of wine or two… that is really all you should have. If you’re a lightweight, stick to one glass of wine or one cocktail. It’s important to know your alcohol limits, in general, but especially at company holiday parties. You wouldn’t want anyone reminding you of all the embarrassing stuff you said or did at the party the following week, would you? Limiting your alcohol intake is a surefire way to avoid that potential problem. And if you’re going to be drinking even a little, be sure to have made driving arrangements beforehand, as this will demonstrate that you’re a responsible person in and outside of the workplace.

Save your complaints for the car ride home

Maybe the food spread sucked. Or, maybe your co-worker said something completely idiotic. If something irritates you, and trust me, there could be a lot, keep it to yourself. Do not voice your opinions to anyone about the party itself or its attendees. This will only land you into trouble.

Though there are things to keep in mind in order to avoid any problems at work, it’s 100% possible to have a good time celebrating the holidays with your colleagues and co-workers. If you remain professional, have a good attitude, and are respectful of everyone, you’ll be good to go.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
— Kevin Gnapoor, Mean Girls

What are your best tips for remaining professional at holiday work parties?

Holly-Noelle HaworthComment